Peripeteia Moments in His Story
Imagine the scene. Following many years of slavery in Egypt God has made the way for the Israelites to escape to freedom. Leaving Egypt they came to the Red Sea where they set up camp - but their freedom was short lived when they saw the Egyptian army pursuing them! Understandably they began to tremble, but Moses said,
“Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
God told Moses to lift up his rod and hold his hand over the sea. The water divided leaving a pathway for the Israelites to pass through. Still the Egyptian army pursued them, but God confused the Egyptian army and when the Israelites reached safety God instructed Moses to raise his hand once more and immediately the sea came over the Egyptians destroying them all.
This is just one of God’s spectacular ‘peripeteia’ moments recorded in His word. Peripetieia may be an unknown word to you as it was to me until a few months ago. It is an ancient Greek word most often used in literature where a sudden change in circumstance results in tragedy. The Anglicanized form of Peripeteia is peripety which means a sudden change in circumstance whether good or bad.
Furnished with this knowledge I came to see that the greatest peripeteia moment in all history is the crucifixion of Christ. I recently read an article by John Piper in which he points to six amazing happenings recorded in Matthew 27:50-54:
Jesus offered up His spirit to His Father.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth shook
The rocks were split
The tombs were opened
Many saints came back to life
These events are followed by two further events at the time of Jesus’ resurrection:
After Jesus rose the risen saints went to Jerusalem.
They were seen by many people.
It must have been a most dreadful peripeteia moment for the demonic forces when God showed His power spectacularly! Paul records this moment in his letter to the Colossians 2:15:
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
The story of Jesus is not mere literature. It is His Story based on truth and evidence. His earthly death changed the course of history for ever. The moment Jesus breathed His final breath the powers of darkness were defeated! The miracles were evident. Jesus’ death was the greatest triumph of all time. Such was the ‘peripeteia moment’ when God showed His power through what appeared be the greatest tragedy recorded in history. Our beautiful Saviour had overcome death itself, opening the way for ALL mankind to find forgiveness for sin by kneeling in repentance. Jesus’ precious sacrificial blood has power to cleanse the vilest sinner.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I stand amazed in Your Presence and I thank You for Your willingness to lay down Your life for me. Touch the hearts of all who don’t yet know You, that they too may share in the gift of salvation You offer to all mankind. Amen